Captain’s resigned, four frontline quicks ruled out – who’s excited for Pakistan’s Test tour of Australia?


Cricket Australia’s hopes of trying to generate interest in the upcoming series against Pakistan are getting harded by the day with fast bowler Haris Rauf out of the touring squad for the three-Test campaign.

Three front-line quicks — Naseem Shah, Ihsanullah and Mohammad Hasnain — had already been ruled out  because of injuries forcing Pakistan to call up uncapped pacer Khurram Shahzad.

He is one of three uncapped players named in an 18-member squad on Monday. The others were left-handed opening batter Saim Ayub and allrounder Amir Jamal. 

Newly appointed chief selector Wahab Riaz said Rauf pulled out on Sunday night despite confirming his availability two days ago.

“He (Rauf) gave his consent, but later he changed his mind because he was worried about his fitness and the workload,” Riaz said in Lahore while announcing the squad. “His absence will affect the team combination.”

Riaz said the medical panel of the Pakistan Cricket Board informed him that there were no fitness issues with Rauf. The chief selector and team director Mohammad Hafeez later sat together with Rauf, but the fast bowler pulled out at the last moment.

Shahzad, 23, was named alongside experienced bowlers Shaheen Afridi and Hasan Ali. Jamal, who has represented Pakistan in T20s against England, is in the squad as a seam-bowling allrounder.

Left-arm fast Mir Hamza, who picked up 32 wickets this season in Pakistan’s premier first-class tournament, and right-arm pacer Mohammad Wasim return to the squad.

Pakistan revamped the national team after making an early exit from the Cricket World Cup in India.

Babar Azam stepped down from the captaincy and left-handed opener Shan Masood will lead the Test side in Australia after he was appointed until the end of the World Test Championship cycle of 2023-25.

Pakistan beat Sri Lanka 2-0 in their opening WTC test series in Sri Lanka, but it will be a huge task for Masood in testing Australian conditions when Pakistan play in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.


Our 18-member squad for the three-match Test series against Australia ????????

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— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) November 20, 2023

“We have kept the (Australian) pitches in mind and added more pace bowling resources to the team to ensure that the management can be flexible with the team combinations,” Riaz said.

Mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed and left-arm spinner Noman Ali are the specialist slow bowlers.

Pakistan Test squad: Shan Masood (captain), Aamir Jamal, Abdullah Shafique, Abrar Ahmed, Babar Azam, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Khurram Shahzad, Mir Hamza, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim, Noman Ali, Saim Ayub, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shaheen Afridi.

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